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Former NBA Star Barkley Calls Sports Betting “Toothpaste out of the Tube”

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
11 min read
Former Nba Star Barkley Calls Sports Betting
  • Last Week, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley Talked Sports Betting at Media Event
  • Barkley Fears Crooked Mid-Game Wagers but “Toothpaste is out of the Tube” 
  • Charles Concerned About Problem Gambling Despite Being a Gambler Himself

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Last Week, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley Talked Sports Betting at Media Event

Who better to weigh in on the issue of legal sports betting than the gambling NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, the notorious bettor speaking about the industry’s rapid rise at a recent media event connected to the American Century celebrity golf tournament in which he was playing.

Barkley’s general opinion of the exponential increase of U.S. gambling due to over 30 states legalizing, regulating, and taxing some form of a mobile and/or retail sports betting market is that:

There’s too much of it.

Says the guy famous for making head-turning wagers, like the one he placed at a celebrity tournament last year when he bet $100k that he would place in the top 70, and even though he lost (he tied for 76th) he got his money back since it was an illegal bet on himself in Nevada. 

In Barkley’s opinion the U.S. sports betting market is growing too rapidly, telling reporters:

I had an NBA owner say in the next three to five years … they’re going to be making triple what they do on television revenue. And when you get to that point, I think it’s really scary.

The 11x NBA All-Star and 5x All-NBA First Teamer is worried that with such quick growth comes the temptation to cheat, though Barkley knows it is too late to put a stop to that.

Barkley Fears Crooked Mid-Game Wagers but “Toothpaste is out of the Tube”

Since May 2018 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA, almost three dozen states have taken advantage of that ruling that gave them the legal right to regulate and tax a sports betting market for residents, something that has proven to be a cash cow for all involved.

But with all that money and wagering comes the temptation to cheat the system, says Barkley, and he even posed a hypothetical that is actually a scary what-if, saying:

We’ve got people in the stands betting on who’s going to make the next free throws. Think about that. If I was a scumbag, I’d look at a guy in the stands, a friend, and say, ‘Yo, I’m going to miss both of these free throws.’ Now, that’s cheating.

True, that might happen, but it wouldn’t take long for the oddsmakers to figure it out and those types of bets would quickly be eliminated; besides, it’s too late now to do much about this industry rising, since, as the former NBA MVP admits:

Listen, gambling’s always been part of sports … like I said, the toothpaste is out of the tube, and I don’t know how to put it back in.

Another concern Barkley has with the surge in legal sports betting is the increase in problem gambling it can cause.

Charles Concerned About Problem Gambling Despite Being a Gambler Himself

With legal alcohol comes more alcoholics and with legal gambling comes more problem gamblers, or so the theory goes, and because of that potentially dangerous cause and effect, leaders in the sports betting industry have done their best to take measures to counter it.

In the past coverage, we have gone into greater detail on what the industry and gamblers can each do to minimize that potential downfall, solutions that work when they are prioritized by the individual states and bettors as those markets launch.

It pays to gamble wisely, just ask Barkley who has a better plan for the next time he wants to put money on himself:

I’m going to give some money to one of my friends and have him bet on me.

Excellent idea, Charles: bet smarter, win bigger.

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Mike Lukas

1204 Articles

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]

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